Occult obsessed Toby Driver has decided to put aside his black metal roots for a while and focus on something that works to remind me a little bit more of mid-era Ulver, when they were arguably at their best. It is a passionate record that seems to combine that style in with the dark new wave of early Bowie and feels like something of a history lesson for those who weren’t around to experience this short-lived style of music which seems to be getting back on it’s feet with acts like Pertubator and Grave Pleasures. As I have stated, there is no metal to be found at all on this disc, so don’t even ask for it. Instead, we’re treated to one of the most brilliant and heartfelt performances that I’ve ever heard from the man and it’s definitely his most mature record to date. I think Decibel gave this a 7 or so, but it doesn’t even seem like the kind of record a heavy metal magazine should be reviewing, regardless of his past work in Kayo Dot and Maudlin Of The Well.
(Yes, I am calling for genre magazine review restrictions as far as rock and metal albums go, as a bad review can give the reader an unfair opinion of a record that doesn’t even have anything to with the genre that the magazine is marketed towards. If Ihsahn decides to make a smooth jazz album in the next few years, it shouldn’t find a place in Decibel and perhaps be reviewed in a forum for jazz based music. Here, we do a little bit of everything; so that’s no issue for me.)
Later on in the album, guitar picks up on “Library Subterranean” (8:23) and goes into a slight progressive section which displays some rather awesome drumwork, though is still not a metal recording in any way. Even a bit of sax is uttered, which is no real issue as far as the context of the record is concerned. It simply works to emphasize the Ulver influence, which does wonders for the work at hand. “The Assassination Of Adam” (5:47) also picks up some guitar and ritualism, but it doesn’t classify as heavy metal either. This is clearly still a type of heavy prog rock, which ends with a slow-jazz cool down in “Spirit Photography” (10:05). As you can see, it’s a long piece, but it’s romantic. Hell, you can even fuck to it if you want; and I’m quite sure that people have. Possibly even children have been conceived to such a piece, though I’m not sure how Toby Driver feels about that. In any case, he has created an absolute monolith in this “don’t you dare call it metal, but it’s absolutely wonderful” recording and I hope that all those who forgot about it last year will give it a try this year. It seems like the cooler summer months would be perfect for this record and it’s definitely one of the best disc’s I’ve ever heard from the man. I could listen to it again and again without relent and would consider it a new classic.
(6 Tracks, 49:00)